Perfectly safe at 70 mph [Letter]

March 07, 2014

One is the number that ought to be memorized by everyone caring about traffic safety in Maryland ("Sixty-five (still) saves lives," March 4). Rural interstates accounted for one of Maryland's 485 traffic deaths in 2011, and one of 505 deaths in 2012. Frenzy about rural interstate speed limits demonstrates either tragic ignorance or heartless political pandering.

Simple physics explains why interstates have remarkable safety records. Interstates vastly reduce the common causes of crashes, such as crossover conflicts at intersections, head-on collisions with adjacent, opposing traffic and roadside hazards like trees, telephone poles, sharp curves and sheer drop-offs.

The United States built thousands of miles of interstates from "sea to shining sea," binding the continent together and giving citizens unprecedented freedom and safety of travel. Maryland is a vital link in our national mobility.

What about "speed-related" crashes? Just a curious comparison of apples and oranges: crashes occurring under adverse conditions such as fog, rain, ice and curves and citations handed out under optimal conditions, typically sunny, dry, straight roads. Self-proclaimed "safety lobbyists" insinuate that raking in revenue from speeding tickets under the best conditions will reduce crashes under the worst conditions on the worst roads. Unbelievable!

In summary, interstates offer Americans improved travel times, safety and fuel-efficiency by minimizing the common causes of crashes and delays. Allowing 70 miles per hour on Maryland's rural interstates offers improved travel times for long-distance travelers and tourists. The speed limit will focus law enforcement on dangerous behaviors and locations instead of just playing meter-reader on the best roads. Seventy on the safest roads? Smart move!

Duke Ganote

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